Sunday, August 12, 2012

Peanut Butter and Jelly Vodka

I had to start this post off with the product itself. Really, how do you introduce that? Oh, Van Gogh will your whimsical shenanigans ever end?

Naturally, you can’t just buy a bottle of PB & J vodka any old time. You have to make a thing of it. Luckily, I just moved into a new place and my new roomie loves PB & J. Having recently dubbed myself her “substance abuse fairy”, I decided that this would be a nice celebratory gift. Partly for the novelty, partly because it’s Van Gogh, partly because her shitbag ex-roomie stole some of my beer and I wanted to bring something that that cunt wouldn't want in the event that he was around it. I figured I couldn’t do much better than this. The bottle was about 30 bucks, which is pretty good for this brand. Such a pretty bottle too.

Drinking it straight

It smells like some really weird combination of alcohol, grape jelly, and bread. I can’t quite describe it beyond that. It’s really fuckin’ weird. Flavor-wise it’s like toasted peanut, wheat bread and a hint of grape jelly. I’m not complaining too hard because the fact that it even passingly tastes like a PB & J sandwich is impressive. The real problem is that the grape jelly is understated. Roomie and I decided that this could not stand and went on a mission to find the perfect mixer to fix this tragedy.


In a twist that I never expected, the only effect Pepsi has is that it totally swallows every flavor except the bread. Not kidding. If anyone was wondering, bread vodka is not a particularly exciting or delicious beverage. Moving on…

Cherry Kool-Aid

Awful, awful, awful, awful.Too sweet, too weird, too much bread. I think I added some triple sec to see if it would help but I honestly don’t remember too much about it because we were entertaining some guests and I had brought several bottles of liquor with me when I moved in.

Grape Fanta

If this seems like the only mixer that had any rhyme or reason to it, it’s because we finally went food shopping instead of just trying to work with whatever was lying around the house. This is probably the best we could do and it is awesome. It doesn’t drown out the peanut flavor and the soda really brings out the grape in a way that’s wondrously cheap-tasting. It’s like shitty grape jelly from a squeeze bottle. Between that and the fact that the drink is purple, it’s like a cocktail for your inner child. Stay queer!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Goat Cheese and Black Raspberry Popsicle

God...damn. It has been a while. Sorry 'bout that. These last few months have been a blur of (in no particular order) beautiful German women, kittens, alcohol, travel, drama, action, terrorist plots, heat exhaustion, Bruce Campbell movies, facebook, homelessness, spiders, subways, procrastination, cheese steaks and a rather nice store that sells artisan popsicles. For a time I was staying in a charming part of Philadelphia not too far from University City. It was charming in the sense that the houses were cute, a good portion of the people looked like they would jump right in if I started a Defiance, Ohio singalong on a street corner, and it had loads of interesting and fun places to eat, but also contained several frat houses and sometimes people would wander in from the shadier parts of Market Street to break into cars. It was a bit like sharing a nice, big house with 4 really fun, interesting people and one business major who likes to mention his dad's occupation in pickup lines. I'd also like to add that all of the hipsters I've encountered there were not annoying little shits in the least. Most of them were actually kind of adorable and friendly.

Anyway, there's a rather cool store there called Lil' Pop Shop at 265 South 44th street. I wish I had pictures. It's really tiny inside. Basically there's a cooler/counter full of popsicles and behind it there's a big blackboard with all of the flavors they have that day. There's free water too. All they sell is popsicles for 3 bucks each. I'm a cheap motherfucker so believe me when I say that it's totally worth it because every popsicle I've gotten there has been fucking delicious. The last time I went I had the pleasure of trying the goat cheese and black raspberry popsicle.

Yes, I had this blog in mind when I ordered it. It's the consistency of frozen greek yogurt and tastes like a raspberry... goat cheesecake. There's real bits of raspberry in it too. Pardon me for sounding like a Pabst-swilling hipster but it tastes very authentic and I can safely say that I have never, ever said that about a popsicle before. Honestly, even if you don't like goat cheese I think you might still like this. Just think of it as a cheesecake popsicle, it pretty much is. You should stop by if you're in West Philly. Hit up Honest Tom's Taco Shack while you're at it. It's right next door and they make amazing burritos. Stay queer!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

It’s My Birthday and I’ll Do What I Want.

Before I begin, I would like to advise you all to never buy Belvedere vodka. I have never tried it and never will due to a recnt ad of theirs which portrays a grinning guy grabbing a woman from behind as she looks surprised and distressed. The ad reads: "Unlike some people, Belvedere always goes down smoothly." (I am NOT posting that on my blog, you can google it if you want.) Yeah. These are people looked at the fact that the majority of reported rapes happen when at least one party is intoxicated and decided that it was an untapped potential for advertising. I understand no one has suggested that cattle cars in 1940's Germany would have been a lot less awful if the people on them had been drunk on Belvedere vodka prior to arriving at the concentration camps. Go to it, fellas! Stay classy and please kill yourselves you irresponsible, repugnant shitbags. 

Now back to your regularly scheduled nonsense.

I like most kinds of booze but my absolute favorite alcohol, my special occasion booze, my comfort booze, the thing all my friends know as the perfect default gift for me, is vodka. I love vodka. It seems like every time I tell someone that they say they can’t drink vodka because it makes them get angry. That’s a damn shame but more for me so whatever. You can mix it with anything, it’s one of the least fattening alcohols, and the sound of the word is just classy. Straight or mixed, vodka is my top booze pick. I’ll order a vodka cocktail that less enticing than another cocktail just because it has vodka. I don’t get to have vodka very often. Partly it’s because I’m poor, partly it’s because I have responsibilities that keep me from having it that often, but that just makes it extra wonderful when I do get to indulge. So I’d like to give you a quick rundown on some of the more memorable vodkas in my life. For those of you who may not know, really good vodka is flavorless (aside from the kick) and odorless unless it has flavoring. It’s supposed to be like alcoholic water. I’ve never had vodka that good but I have had a large variety. These are ordered in worst to best so far. If I jump order or you disagree then just keep in mind: It’s my birthday and I’ll do what I want. 


I couldn't find a stock photo because nobody likes Dubra. The only time I had Dubra was when a friend of mine gave me some because she had gotten way too drunk on it and was not interested in the rest of the bottle. One Crow T. Robot put forth the question: "Is there any vodka cheaper than Popov?" Well, guess what? I did the math and, per ounce, Dubra was actually cheaper than Popov. I know, right? How bad was it? It froze. Seriously, it froze. I think it had the nastiest kick I’ve ever tasted in a vodka. It tasted like dishwater and it just tasted dirty. Mixing it with tomato juice and hot sauce made it palatable. Avoid at all costs.


This was fucking vile. I only put it between Dubrav and Popov because I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt that the other flavors are less disgusting. I posted about the sloe berry flavor earlier. Tasted like cough syrup.


The vodka most know for being the cheapest shit you can buy (or so I thought, prior to discovering the truth behind Dubra). There was a liquor store near my college where you could buy a small bottle for 2.50. Not kidding. I think it was like 5 oz. The kick is nasty but what do you expect? It’s still better than Dubrav. Tastes less like dishwater, more like working class pride and shattered dreams. Mixing it with tomato juice and hot sauce is actually nice. The trick is just to drown out the kick as much as you can. If ever you want to get a kid way too drunk to prove to them that underage drinking is bad I think you might as well use Popov. Saves money, less cruel than Dubra, and it’s an accurate portrayal of what most underage kids would get anyway. I didn’t party in high school but I never heard anybody bragging about having a keg of Magic Hat and a case of Tanqueray for the weekend. If my life goes really downhill this will probably be my vodka of choice. Popov is for failures and people who are still in school.


Bluuuugh. It’s marginally better than Popov but it’s more expensive so you get less bang for your buck. Don’t fucking bother. Either get something better or an assload of Popov. I NEVER buy Svedka. The bottle isn’t even pretty. All of the flavors are disappointments too. Next!


A considerable step up from the earlier vodkas. Comes in a wide variety of flavors that I generally like. Top shelf? Nope. It’s pretty ok though. You can drink it straight really easily and people generally appreciate it when you bring it to a party. Smirnoff is the middle class of vodka. Perfectly respectable, although their plain vodka isn’t that great. Get a flavored variety unless you want to make bloody marys or something.

Grey Goose

I almost never have Grey Goose because it’s fucking expensive. It goes down smooth, it mixes well, and it’s classier than the aforementioned vodkas. The bottle is also pretty. Here’s a little shorthand for vodka quality that a friend of mine taught me: 

If the bottle just has a label on the front, it’s really shitty.
If it has a wrap around label or one on the front and the back it’s generally ok. 
If the bottle doesn’t have a label because the detail is in the glass itself and it has designs and pictures and so on, it’s good. 

Grey Goose is good. But my favorite vodka? The one I covet the most? Well that’d be

Van Gogh

Look at how pretty those bottles are! You can't argue with that!

Lemme tell you a story. My best friend helped edit one of my personal statements to get into grad school. Prior to this we had gone through some terrible drama that resulted in us not speaking for 3 months. Our friendship had only recently rekindled. The only school that accepted me was the one she helped me with. I was elated when I found out. I didn’t want to brag so I sent her a quick text to nonchalantly tell her the news. She responded by texting me hearty congratulations, followed by a call. She shouted about how excited she was for me and told me to stay where I was. About an hour later she told me to look outside. I walked out and saw a 12 pack of woodchuck hard cider, 3 Cadbury creme eggs, a card depicting a bunch of kittens getting drunk (Besty sends the awesome cards), and a bottle of Van Gogh vanilla vodka. Vanilla vodka’s my favorite. We spent the day with some of my other friends, watching movies, getting drunk, and being silly. That was my first time trying Van Gogh. Don’t think that this memory is the only reason why Van Gogh rules though. It’s incredibly smooth. It’s the sort of vodka you should sip and savor. It tastes wonderful. The flavored varieties are exceptionally good. If you get vanilla vodka, it tastes like real vanilla. If you get caramel vodka, it really tastes like a liquid caramel candy and their blueberry acai really tastes like blueberries with a hint of acai. It’s the best vodka I’ve ever tasted. I’m not sure what could top it at this point. I still have the bottle that Besty gave me, and I hope I always do. Go out and make informed vodka decisions, but more importantly stay queer!

Friday, April 13, 2012


I was in a Pakistani/Indian grocery store at one point during my jaunt to Philly. Besty and I stopped in so she could get some stuff to make kombucha, which may get its own post in the future. I noticed that the majority of the products were vegetarian and flour-based. I hadn’t really expected that but I don’t know much about Indian food and almost nothing about Pakistani food. Naturally, I had to try at least one thing there. I had a hard time picking a snack food because it seemed like all of them were essentially flour in a variety of different shapes. Flour twists, flour wheels, flour wads, etc. They were actually kind of cool looking but they didn't seem very distinct from one another. It wasn’t like there were barbecue flour wads and sour cream and onion flour wads and buffalo flour wads.  When I found one that advertised itself as made of flour and spicy I went for it. The real clincher is that the packaging reads “Nutritious & Hygienic!!!” on the top, with “SPICY STUFFED BALLS” across the front, which made me think fondly on my first post.

Cost: $1 - $10

I was kind of expecting it to be crunchy but it’s actually soft. The outside is flakey layer of pastry. It’s spicy in that it tastes like someone mixed together the contents of an entire spice rack with some water and molded it into a wad. The most prominent flavor is fennel, which is generally not a flavor I like to be prominent. Not that it’s bad, it’s just kind of bland and disappointingly fattening. The bag is about the size of a small bag of chips, the bag has 10 servings, and each serving is 110 calories. Damn. If you though I was exaggerating the “wad o’ spices” aspect, the ingredients are: refined wheat flour, gram pulse flour, vegetable oil, sugar, salt, tamarind, red chili powder, fennel, coriander, sesame seeds, cumin, ginger, nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, cardamom, and asafetida. Eating it reminds me of potpourri or a shop in one of those stupid colonial recreation towns where every place that sells anything has a bunch of dried herbs on the walls. I guess the take away message is that hippies, hipsters, and sad bastards who pretend to be worldly to get tail should take note. Stay queer!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Tyson Bees Food Truck - Kimchi Dog

Last week I took a much needed trip to Philadelphia to visit my best friend. Ample opportunities for queerness awaited me there. The day after I arrived, my friend introduced me to the glory that is Tyson Bees Food Truck. It’s nestled lovingly between several of U Penn’s buildings in University City. According the internet, the official address is 33rd and Spruce Street. It’s a popular Korean food truck and there's usually a small crowd of students around it. To keep track of orders, they hand you a playing card after you order your food and call out the card when it’s done. I thought that was charming. I was 9 of clubs. I ordered a kimchi dog on the suggestion of my friend, who has rarely steered me wrong when it comes to books, food, and internet silliness. I expected a regular hot dog with kimchi on it. What I got was this:

This was 3 dollars. Yes, that’s red cabbage, and what I think is spicy mayonnaise. The hot dog is cut in half lengthwise, which seemed odd at first, but I soon realized that this just meant there was more surface area exposed to the wonderful, wonderful toppings. I was afraid that the kimchi would be overpowering, (for those of you who are unfamiliar, kimchi is really spicy pickled cabbage) but Tyson Bees hit some marvelous sweet spot! The red cabbage may seem like a weird choice but the texture and color are a really nice touch. The bun is gigantic and soft, and not a millimeter is wasted because they really cram those toppings on there. It’s filling, spicy, reasonably priced and delicious. I wholly recommend it to anyone who’s going to be in University City for any length of time. The only downside is that this food truck is only open on weekdays. Hopefully I’ll get to review more of their food in the future. Stay queer!  

Friday, March 23, 2012

Terrine au Piment d’Espelette

Yet another (presumably) proper noun, and a word I’ve never seen before. I wonder if Espelette is another type of booze? What with it being the day after St.Patrick’s Day, I kind of hope it isn’t. I'm glad I have a variety of terrines to try, I didn't expect them to be as different as they are. 

Huh, I didn’t expect it to be so pinkish. I suspect that this either means it’s has salmon in it, or it’s spicy. As I have a somewhat masochistic relationship with spicy food and love salmon, I think I’m in for a win-win here.

It is spicy, but just the tiniest bit. It’s more of an aftertaste really.  It’s coarser than the other two terrines. The texture is more like sausage filling than the others, and it’s definitely heavier. The flavor is very subtle, there’s only a hint of liver, but it’s very nuanced. It’s got these little flecks of red, and orange in it. I guess that’s some kind of mild chili peppers. 

Overall quite good. I get the feeling that so far this would be the most popular terrine with Americans so far. Make it spicier, dunk it in cheese, have it with a beer, and you got yourself a hit. Let’s see, apparently, aside from ingredients in common with the other two it has: pepper (I guess what means hot pepper), and Espelette pepper…what the hell does that mean? To the internet! Ok, according to Wikipedia, Espelette peppers are a type of mild pepper grown in France. It has a heat rating of about 4,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). To put that in perspective, jalapenos rate from 2,500 to 5,000 SHU. I’m sorry for the brevity, but the sound of my room mate throwing up is very distracting. Enjoy another French  video. If the blog isn’t gay enough for you as is, this may do the trick. Stay queer!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Terrine de canard a l'Armagnac

Eh, what the hell? Might as well give the others reviews. After translating the ingredients I decided that the video to go with this post should be a bit less toddler-mistaking-mom's-cries-of-ecstasy-for-permission-y and more pretty-French-music-y. 

What better way to acquaint yourself with a melange of organ and who knows what else than with the accompaniment of one of France's most beloved chanteuses? Kind of makes you want to stop listening to that dubstep shit so the rest of us don't have to listen to you blast what sounds like an early 90's dialup connection fucking a synthesizer, right? Anyway:

I know canard means duck, so a bit of the mystery is gone. Not sure what Armagnac is. I guess it's a proper noun, but that's all I got. BTW, just to prove I wasn't lying about it looking like cat food earlier:

This one smells a bit more like tuna. 

The flavor is stronger and less nuanced. It tastes more like regular liverwurst. It’s textured similarly to the last terrine, but slightly more coarse. I think this has more liver in it than the last one. I'm not sure if it has duck liver, duck meat, or both, but it does feel and taste slightly more meaty. It’s a bit more like a meat paste, or sausage filling. Something heavier is in there too, somehow it seems to have a touch more bite than the last one. This one is also quite good. I think people who prefer stronger flavors would like this better than the last terrine. Let’s see. The ingredients are:  lean pork fat, chicken liver, duck, eggs, milk, Armagnac (a type of brandy), salt, and pepper. Ok, so it was brandy. Damn, that's fancy. Stay classy, France and stay queer, readers!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Terrine aux Cepes

Apologies for the lack of accent marks in this post. Feel free to draw them on your computer screen to compensate.

Despite prayer, all of the letters I sent to the French military, and no fewer than 3 separate facebook petitions, my sister (author of Jennyphoria) came back from the Paris for a brief visit. She was kind enough to bring some gifts, presumably as an apology for breaching her containment overseas, among which was a variety pack of terrine.

According to Wikipedia terrine is “a French forcemeat loaf, similar to pate.” You had me at forcemeat loaf. I’m still deciding if I want to review one or several terrines because I don’t know how similar they are. We’ll see I guess. You know, I keep looking on the back to look at the nutrition info, and ingredients despite the facts that 1) there are no nutrition facts, which I have been well aware of since the first time I checked, and 2) the writing on the box requires far more skill with French than I have, which I have also been well aware of since the first time I checked.

Ok, enough fucking about. Let’s get down to business. I’m going to try…

You know, I never thought I'd see fancy French food with a pop tab on it.
Smells a bit like cat food, looks a bit like cat food, has taken the shape of the can in a manner similar to cat food. You're supposed to eat it on crackers or toast points. At this point in my life, I know better than to turn my nose up at something simply because it reminds me a bit of cat food. I realize that that previous sentence must have raised a few eyebrows, so I’d like to clarify that if something looks and smells a bit like cat food, it probably has liver in it.

Wikipedia was accurate, the texture is similar to pate, only less smooth. It tastes moderately like liver, and its got a hint of black pepper, and cheese, even though I don’t see fromage anywhere on the ingredients list. The flavor is a bit mild, but that works just fine, as it allows the spices to shine through more. There’s something more I can’t quite place, but it’s familiar, and flavorful. There’s also a slight hint of…bacon? Let’s see. According to google translate, this is made of lean pork fat (explains the bacon), chicken liver, eggs, milk, mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Mushrooms! That’s what it was. This was tasty. French food is generally pretty awesome. Also, they make way better condom commercials there.

Stay queer!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Eristoff Red is Fucking Nasty

This isn't only my personal diary of culinary abortions, it's also a source of entertainment and information for my readers. Now, the majority of my reader are related to me or friends I met in college ,so I have extra incentive to be honest and let you know when something doesn't work. This, my friends, does not work:

It almost looks innocent...
As you may have guessed, I usually don't get top shelf liquor. As I was browsing for some post-midterms celebration booze, I noticed a bottle of vodka named Eristoff Red. It was only 10 bucks, it's vodka , and it has a sweet wolf on the bottle, so I decided to be adventurous. It says it's sloe berry flavored, which is the worst misspelling of cough syrup I've ever seen. It tastes exactly like cough syrup. No Please be aware of this vodka in your community and don't welcome it into your home or your liver. If you must though, it's palatable with ginger ale. Stay queer and treat yourself to some Van Gogh instead, that stuff's the best.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Junk Food Soup

Once again we’re delving into the wide world of prison cuisine.  I was watching Lockup with one of my sisters recently and, occasionally, they show an inmate cooking. I caught a short segment of a woman making this and describing the recipe. I forget what she called it. Looked easy enough though.  She seemed to be in pretty good spirits, despite living in a shack outside in the Midwestern heat, in a prison that treats homemade sex toys as contraband, surrounded by presumably sweaty, and overheated women, at least some of whom were carrying surprisingly sharp knives made out of coffee cup lids and such.  I guess that means that this is relatively tasty or she just stopped giving a fuck about anything. I have mixed feelings about trying this. It has corn nuts, which are my favorite snack food, however it also has pork rinds, which are fucking nasty. I’m giving this recipe the chance to make them palatable. Upon reflection, this means that pork rinds are marginally less disgusting to me than raisins. I fucking hate raisins.

You need:
Corn nuts. Judging by the color, she was using nacho cheese, but all I could get was ranch
Jalapeno cheese dip
Pork rinds
Price range: $1- $10

Boil some water. Add the corn nuts and water to a wide mouthed bottle or jar of some sort. I think she was holding wither a Vitamin Water or Gatorade bottle. 

Ok, I guess that's not too bad.
Shake it up well. The water was opaque red on tv so presumably the goal is to mix the seasoning well into the water, and soften up to corn nuts a bit. 

You could almost convince yourself it's chicken broth.
Add the cheese to your taste and shake it up a bit more. I think she added about two tablespoons, but you’re presumably on the outside so go nuts. 

That is just disgusting...
Pour that mixture into the bag of pork rinds. I guess you could use a pot if you feel fancy. I don’t feel fancy in the slightest, but I am acutely aware of the fact that I’m clumsy. sounds like Rice Krispies...
I hate to admit it, but this is actually not bad. There is a hint of pork rind that I don’t really care for, but it’s tolerable. The corn nuts really make it for me. They’re softer, but still a bit crunchy. The cheesy broth isn't half bad either.  The pork rinds absorb the broth pretty well too. I know that sounds nasty but it’s better than how they usually taste. I think a version of this without pork rinds would be far superior but I don't know if I hate myself enough to make it in the near future. Rejoice, trailer park residents of the world! Your alpha snack food has been discovered! Stay queer!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chocolate Covered Cherrystone Clams

Allerfic to shellfish? Not in the mood to prank someone? Well, you're just not any fun at all, are you? You will, however, be gratified to know that this is a very simple recipe for chocolate dipped whatevers and you can simply replace the clams with fruit or pretzels. Chocolate dipped fruit is a big seller on Hallmark Day and stores will gouge the shit out of you for it. It might look less fancy if you do it yourself but you get more for what you pay, you can put on as much chocolate as you want, and unless the person you give it to is a materialistic brat, a homemade token of affection is much nicer than a store bought one. You know, I made chocolate dipped fruit once a few years ago with my best friend. It turned out great. I distinctly remember raising a piece of banana to my mouth and she said, “You know, you could make so much money on the internet with this.” She responded to my look of utter confusion with a knowing, “College lesbian sucks chocolate banana.” She’s earning a PhD right now.

Anyway, I really must reiterate that intentionally feeding someone something they’re allergic to without their knowledge is extremely dangerous and VERY illegal, even if the allergy is relatively minor. You can be hit with a number of life-ruining charges, up to and including murder and attempted murder. Gross someone out, don’t hurt them.

You need
Canned cherrystone clams (If you can afford fresh clams then go for it)
Semi-sweet chocolate morsels
Wax paper
Total cost: $1 - $10, assuming you used canned clams

Drain the clams and dry them with a paper towel. Melt a half cup of chips and 2 table spoons of butter, margarine, or shortening in a double boiler. If you don't have one, fill a pot with a few inches of water, put another pot or ceramic bowl in the water, and bring to a boil to make a jury rigged double boiler. Take care to keep water from getting in the chocolate. Stir until smooth. If the chocolate is too thick, add more butter.

Line a baking sheet with wax paper or baking parchment and arrange the clams on it. Stick a toothpick in each one. Dip each clam in the chocolate, slowly turning it over the bowl after each dip to drip off the excess and spread the chocolate evenly, and place them back on the wax paper.

Put them in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

The buttery, chocolately goodness is shockingly tasty with clam. The soft texture of the chocolate and the clam also work well together. It pretty damn good I’d say. If you gave this to someone wearing a blindfold, you’d probably be much more likely to get a worried “Dude…what is this?” than a panicked “AAAHHHHHHHHH! *spits*” Either way, I’m sure the look on their face would be fucking priceless.

I think a token of affection is appropriate any day of the year. Don’t feel limited to giving the gift of chocolate-covered clams during the holidays or only using clams. There’s a whole world of mollusks (and gastropods, for the particularly adventurous) out there just waiting to be dipped in a concealing layer of chocolate. What better way to let people know exactly how you feel about them? Stay Queer!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Stir Fried Pineapple and Seafood Rice

I was in San Diego two weeks ago and all I could think about was seafood. You see, the climate reminded me of northern Florida a lot, which made me start craving Floribbean food. For those of you not familiar with that, it’s a style of cooking which is basically a fusion of Floridian and Caribbean cuisine.  It has a heavy focus on cooking poultry and/or seafood with fresh citrus fruit, and loads of spices. Luckily, my friend Emi bestowed some canned squid and octopus upon me. In the interest of trying things I haven’t before, I’ve decided to make fried rice with it.  BTW, the thing I haven’t tried before is making fried rice. I’ve had squid and octopus many times.   I don’t really have loads of spices, but I do have a fresh pineapple and several kinds of canned seafood. This should offset my cravings ever so slightly. NOTE: Floribbean cuisine relies very heavily on fresh ingredients, so this is about as close to real Floribbean as canned spaghetti is to authentic Italian. Not nearly as good, but it’ll do if you’re really jonesing and can’t do better at the moment.

You need:
Olive oil
Squid canned in its own ink
Octopus canned in hot sauce
Oysters canned in oil
A pineapple or can of pineapple chunks
Rice (I used a basmati rice medley)
Soy sauce
Any spices that you think will taste good.
Cost: $1 0- $20

Steam about 3 cups of rice and set it aside.

Hull, skin, and dice up about half of a pineapple or more depending on your taste. 

Heat about 3 tablespoons of oil in a pan over medium heat, and add the rice, stirring frequently to keep it from sticking.  After about two minutes, add the pineapple and continue to stir for about another two minutes.

Add the oysters. If you have large oysters then cut them up a bit with the spatula.

Now add the squid…

and the octopus.

Add about 2 table spoons of soy sauce and continue to stir fry it until the pineapple is hot throughout.

The rice itself is good. It’s a tad softer than I wanted it, but I like the texture. The soy sauce combined well with the squid ink. The pineapple adds a nice bit of texture to the dish and keeps the flavor dynamic. The octopus tastes good but it’s a bit chewy. That is normal for canned octopus though, so it’s not really unexpected.  The squid is tender, flavorful, and blends nicely with the other flavors, as does the oyster. Adding a little hot sauce makes it even better. That oughta hold me over for a little bit. Stay queer!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fried Chicken Hearts

I find myself increasingly open to trying organ meats. I was hesitant about the tripe, I was slightly apprehensive about the tongue, and when I saw a package of chicken hearts I excitedly purchased it without a second thought.

Really, who could resist?

Since this is something I’ve never cooked before, I’ll go to my old standby and fry them up.

You need:
Chicken Hearts
Total: $1 - $10

Coarsely chop as many scallions and garlic cloves you’d like. I used three of each.

Sautee them in oil until the scallions and garlic start to brown slightly.

Add the hearts. Stir occasionally, to turn the hearts and keep the veggies from sticking to the bottom of the pan.  You want the hearts to turn dark brown.

It’s like a fatty piece of dark meat, only it’s a bit hard to bite through. Cardiovascular muscle is pretty dense and these feel almost like they have a sausage casing over them. It's not half bad, especially if you like dark meat. I even made a sandwich with it.  There is the slight disadvantage of my girlfriend refusing to kiss me, but that shouldn’t affect you because I’d punch you if you kissed her anyway. Despite devouring the hearts of an entire farm of chickens, I'm not sure if I absorbed any of their power. Hopefully I’ll gain their strength and courage in addition to what I have already, and not as a complete substitution. Stay queer!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Turkish Halva

While in a Polish grocery store in Queens, I happened upon this.

I’ve never heard of Halva. The first ingredient is tahiri, which I later discovered is ground sesame seed paste. My girlfriend asked the cashiers if they knew what it was. Apparently it’s some kind of dessert thing but neither of them could really describe it.  How intriguing.  Apparently halva is made in several countries, comes in several varieties, and originated in Iran.

For some reason, the marbled appearance gave me the impression that it'd be soft, like a spread. It’s actually very firm and crumbly and you have to break it apart. The texture is kind of odd.  The best comparison I can think of is ultra-densely packed fine ground peanuts. It starts off really easy to chew but, as you continue, it gets this kind of toffee-ish consistency. It’s sweet, kind of peanutty-tasting, and there’s a hint of coco.  It’s pretty good, if insanely rich.  A friend of mine tried it and seconded my assessments. Watch yourself if you have fillings, dentures, or just bad teeth in general because I could see this pulling something out if you're not careful. It’s enjoyable while you eat it, but it’s very easy to have too much and end up sprawled across the couch, feeling like there’s a billiard ball-sized wad of honey in your gut, and making noises like a walrus with gas pain.  Stay queer!

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Lengua is a Mexican beef dish.  Wanna see what part of the cow it uses?
That pan is about 10 inches across.
You know, I had tongue once before.  I visited my best friend in Philly recently and she was kind enough to buy me a quarter pound of sliced beef tongue from a deli. It smelled like a mix of pastrami and cat food.  Tasted alright though.

Unfortunately, girlfriend is not currently available to be traumatized. Luckily, my good friend Emi, who is also a vegetarian, has opted to be present during the bulk of its preparation. Lucky thing too. Half of the fun of this blog is inflicting it on others.  Of course, this is one of MY friends we’re talking about here.  They don't horrify easily and they tend to bounce back quickly. As I began prep we bantered about how the cow probably wanted to be an actress when she grew up, and had a loving family, and was going to go to college before it was all tragically cut short. Naturally, I held it in front of my mouth while standing very close to Emi as she was looking at something else and made a loud, throaty “BLULULULUAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGG” sound when she noticed me. You know, the usual stuff people do when cooking. You know, I can't help but notice that the taste buds are pretty prominent.  You could feel them through the packaging.  By the way, if you’re a tongue aficionado and the color of the tongue seems a bit off, it’s because it was pre-smoked, not raw.

You need:
Beef tongue
5 Green chilis: I used serrano peppers
2 cans of corn
4 roma tomatoes
A small white or yellow onion
4 cloves of garlic
Total cost: $20 - $30 

Before you do anything else, you have to boil the tongue for 40-50 minutes per pound.  Why?  Because you need to skin it, of course!  Who ever heard of eating the skin on a cow tongue?  That would just be gross. By the way Emi noted that it smells like hot dogs.  As it boiled the smell became more and more prominent, until it filled every inch of my tiny, studio apartment.  Infer from that what you will. When it's done, set the tongue aside to cool for a few minutes.

Now skin it.  I thought this would be difficult, but you can actually just peel it off with your fingers.  It comes off very easily.

Now thinly slice the tongue.  The meat is very tender and easy to cut, so this only takes a minute.  You can chop it more finely if your skillet isn’t big enough. 

Now get your veggies ready!  In a skillet, roast the peppers over medium heat until the sides are charred.  The more charred it is, the easier it is to skin them.  Take them off of the heat, let them cool off a bit and rub the skin off.  If you’re using very hot peppers, or doubt your manual dexterity you should wear gloves to keep oil from getting under your nails because that shit is ridiculously painful. I once got datil pepper oil under my thumb nail and I thought it was going to melt off. Now cut off the tops and coarsely chop the peppers.  If you want your lengua to be spicier, leave the seeds in.  Now thinly slice the onion, mince the garlic, and coarsely shop the tomatoes.  Get your cans of corn ready as well.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Transfer the peppers, garlic, and onion into the pan. Cook until the onions are translucent.

Add the beef tongue.  Cook for an additional 10 minutes to brown the meat.

Add the tomatoes, and cook them until they’re soft.  5 minutes should do it.

Finally, add drain and add the corn.  Cook for another 5 minutes or so to heat it. My skillet was not nearly big enough for this.

It tastes a bit like bland beef, but the fat gives it a hint of sweetness that's a bit like pork.  The slight heat from the peppers is quite nice and the firm texture of the corn compliments the tenderness of the beef. All of the meat and veggies absorbed some of the oil from the hot peppers, so the heat is nice and even, without being too strong.  All of the ingredients complement each other very nicely. This is really excellent.  I’m sure your average American meat-eater would love this as long as you don’t tell them it has tongue in it. That apparently works for hot dogs.  Stay queer!